A fire in a decorator’s shop inside Salt Lake’s FD block market early on Monday exposed the lack of security in civic markets.
Shop No. 45 was gutted in the blaze that started around 3am. Two adjoining shops were damaged. Three fire tenders doused the flames in about half an hour.
Since the market does not have a reservoir, locals fetched water from adjacent houses to contain the fire.
A fire brigade officer said the blaze could have been devastating as the market does not have “the minimum firefighting preparedness”.
“The market does not have a reservoir or emergency exit. Even the shops do not have fire extinguishers. That the damage was limited is sheer luck,” the officer added.
According to firemen, a short circuit caused the fire.
FD block market in ward 13 is one of the 15 markets run by Bidhannagar Municipality. It has 30 shops.
Tapan Dutta, a member of the FD block market committee, blamed the municipality for the absence of firefighting measures on the premises. “We pleaded with the municipality to put firefighting measures in place, but the municipality ignored our pleas,” said Dutta.
Ashesh Mukherjee, a member of the chairman’s council of the municipality, said the civic body had not allocated funds to maintain the market since it had not paid several lakhs in taxes.
“Because tax is due, we don’t have the funds to maintain the market,” said Mukherjee, who is in charge of the ward following the death of the councillor.